Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for The Washington Post. In today’s post he runs down the winners and losers of last night’s vice presidential debate.
* Mike Pence: From the very beginning, Pence was the more comfortable of the two men on the debate stage. Pence repeatedly turned to the camera when he answered questions, making clear he understood that the real audience wasn’t in the room but watching on TV. The Indiana governor was calm, cool and collected throughout — a stark contrast to the fast-talking (and seemingly nervous) Kaine. Did Pence respond to Kaine’s dozens of attacks on Donald Trump? Only sort of. What Pence seemed to be doing was making the case for Pence-ism, a, dare I say it, compassionate conservatism — a case for Pence 2020 or 2024. Regardless, Trump will very much take it, as Pence’s performance will offer a reset of sorts for a campaign that is scrambling badly due to self-inflicted wounds from the nominee. Win or lose next month, Pence did himself real good in the eyes of the Republican world on Tuesday night….
* Tim Kaine: Someone must have told the Virginia senator he needed to always be on his front foot in the debate, always be the aggressor. It didn’t work. Kaine started the debate talking so quickly and trying to load so many Trump attacks into every answer that it made it virtually impossible to grasp any one attack. In the middle of the debate, Kaine seemed to relax into it — delivering an effective attack on Trump’s comments on women. But that Kaine was the exception, not the rule. When he wasn’t trying to stuff 10 pounds of attack in a five-pound bag in his answers, he was relentlessly interrupting Pence. Every single time Pence started to level an attack against Hillary Clinton, Kaine immediately began to talk over him. I’m not sure if that was on purpose or not, but it didn’t come across well — at all. One glaring example: As Pence was recounting his personal experience on Sept. 11, 2001, Kaine interrupted to say, “I was in Virginia.” Um, okay. Not a good look.